Water consciousness is often on people’s minds in the searing heat of summer and we are all watching the timer for exterior irrigation, tenderly taking buckets of water to our potted plants and hanging flower baskets, helping them deal with the intense heat. There are a lot of ways we can all reduce wasted water just in the kitchen alone, all year long, in fact we dedicated a whole chapter to the topic in our Trash Talk – It’s Easy To Be Green book series. Today, we’ll touch on just a few things that are so very easy to start doing in the kitchen that can have a huge impact on the way water is utilized.

Let’s take a hard look at cooking water. We are talking about the water used when boiling potatoes, poaching eggs or when cooking pasta. That water is full of nutrients and would be such a waste if we just pour it down the drain. Here’s what we can do instead: in the winter – cover with a lid and set the pot of water rest on a rack to cool. This keeps that valuable heat in your house. Then pour through a fine strainer into a container and store in the fridge. This liquid can now be used to make a soupy texture to the dogs’ meals. Alternatively, add it into the compost bin where the moisture, starches and nutrients will only benefit the compost. It can also be used to water outdoor plants – pour 2 feet away from the base of any evergreen tree or shrub.

In the summer – you’ll want to do this task just a little bid differently: place the covered pot outdoors on a rack to cool – keeping the heat out of the house. Once it has cooled completely use as suggested above or pour on any thirsty outdoor plant.

Other types of cooking water from steaming or boiling vegetables can also be used in the same way as above, however they are much more valuable when used as a base for making homemade stock or broth. Reserved water can be used to cook dry beans and wild rice mixes. Alternatively, it can be used in place of water when using cans of concentrated soups, or when reconstituting dehydrated vegetables. It is easy to freeze reserved waters, however be sure to pre-measure the liquid and label the container well.

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